Man sentenced in Raleigh Ponzi scheme

42-year-old Todd Hagemann

July 15, 2011 4:04:54 PM PDT
A Raleigh courtroom was packed Friday as a man accused of ripping off dozens of people went before a judge.

Todd Hagemann, 42, pleaded guilty to 12 felony counts of securities fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme. Many victims were present for the proceeding but didn't want to talk about their ordeal. Others are so embarrassed they didn't attend court Friday.

Victims say Hagemann's pitch was so good, even experienced investors got caught up after being convinced they had done their homework.

"It did appear, you know, a very legitimate situation which everybody now realizes it, it's an embarrassment," victim David Medvetz said.

Twenty-seven investors fell for the promise of 100 percent profit each week. Many lost retirement savings, college funds, family faith and security.

Hagemann was so believable and likeable, he became close to those he duped.

"My remorse is deep," Hagemann told the court. "These were not strangers that were harmed by my actions. They are my friends. Scott Spangler is my friend."

Spangler found it difficult to face his former friend who he says stabbed him in the back.

"This has affected me emotionally," he said.

He and Hagemann became close friends and then Spangler introduced him to his best and wealthiest friends.

"I didn't go to people who had money," Spangler said. "I went to friends I wanted to help."

Spangler got so emotional in the courtroom a prosecutor with the secretary of state's office had to read his statement.

"'I've never felt depression like this nor do I think I ever will again,'" Prosecutor Dena King read.

Spangler regained his composure and added some final comments.

"The most devastating thing is the reassuring smile that was always given to me and at the same time stabbing me," he added. "That's, uh, I don't see myself recovering from it."

Hagemann's attorneys begged the judge for leniency for their client, who faced nearly 40 years on 12 charges of security fraud. They had hoped he could serve five years so he could have time to return to his wife and children and pay back some of the $900,000 he owes victims.

"With all of my heart I ask for forgiveness," Hagemann told the court. "I say to each and every one, I am sorry. I am deeply sorry."

The judge sentenced him to between 12 and 16 years.

The decision seemed to rock his family and friends who made up the bulk of the crowd in the courtroom. Some of them testified that Hagemann was a good Christian, husband and father, who had committed a crime that was totally out of character.

"He was very gifted in a most positive sense by being able to bring in those folks on the margin, to make them feel good about themselves," friend Bobby White said.

Hagemann's friends and family outnumbered the investors he scammed, and after seeing them stand in support of Hagemann, one victim spoke out.

"If they think so much of him, maybe they'd like to give me my money back, uh, or whoever," Gregory Gibbs said. "I just want my money back."

Gibbs used four words to describe Hagemann. "Con man from hell."

Hagemann's attorneys said their client lied but never intended to steal -- his investments just went bad. They said he didn't live lavishly.

"If he's not living the lavish lifestyle where's that money?" Medvetz asked. "It's only a window of about nine months. There's $1.2 million unaccounted for."


My retirement fund has been impacted," victim David Wilkinson added. "My children have been impacted. My wife's been impacted."

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Hagemann to pay more than $900,000 in restitution.

When he gets out of jail, he will be in at least his mid-50s, his children will be grown and his victims expect they will never get their money back.

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